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Things to do in Puerto Rico

Things to do in  Puerto Rico

Welcome to Puerto Rico

Often dubbed the Isle of Enchantment, Puerto Rico—flanked by the Dominican Republic to the west and the Virgin Islands to the east—is characterized by bone-white beaches, lush jungle, and a rich indigenous past and present. Whether you want to lounge on the sands, get to grips with the fraught history of this Caribbean archipelago, or hike through dense rain forest, there's something to suit you in Puerto Rico, a destination which boasts multifaceted appeal and provides a wealth of activities for foodies, history buffs, and thrill seekers alike. San Juan, the Caribbean island's capital, teems with cultural vibrancy. Take a walking tour of Old San Juan, replete with colorful facades and lookout points, and home to La Fortaleza, built in 1533. History buffs also won't want to miss San Juan National Historic Site and San Juan Bay, both full of monuments. San Juan also serves as a convenient gateway to El Yunque National Forest, a biodiverse expanse of tropical rainforest boasting La Coca Falls, the reef-protected Luquillo Beach, and the Bacardi rum distillery. The bioluminescent bay in Vieques, an island off the mainland, offers one of the brightest displays of bioluminescence in the world—opt for a kayaking tour for an up-close display. For exceptional snorkeling, take a boat tour of Culebra, another island off the coast, with stops at Flamenco Beach; try the Cayo Luis Pena Nature Reserve from Fajardo; or go ziplining, horseback riding, or hiking through the lush jungle surrounding San Juan.

Top 10 attractions in Puerto Rico

#1
Laguna Grande

Laguna Grande

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During the day, Laguna Grande in Fajardo looks like other bays along the tropical Puerto Rican coastline. But come nightfall the bioluminescent lagoon glows fluorescent, thanks to pyrodinium bahamense, microscopic plankton that thrive in its shallow Caribbean waters and glow when disturbed.More
#2
Bioluminescent Bay (Mosquito Bay)

Bioluminescent Bay (Mosquito Bay)

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Bioluminescent Bay (aka Mosquito Bay or Puerto Mosquito) is one of Puerto Rico’s three bioluminescent bays, located on the island of Vieques. A popular destination for nighttime boat tours, this bay is by far the brightest. The water is illuminated by dinoflagellates called Pyrodinium bahamense, tiny microorganisms that glow when touched.More
#3
Old San Juan

Old San Juan

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The cobblestone streets of Puerto Rico’s Old San Juan, lined with brightly colored Spanish colonial houses, lend themselves to aimless yet inspired wandering—but don’t let yourself pass by the neighborhood’s key attractions. From the UNESCO World Heritage-listed forts of Castillo San Felipe del Morro (El Morro) and Castillo San Cristobal to restaurants serving plates of aromatic rice and fried plantains, Old San Juan charms travelers at every turn.More
#4
El Yunque National Park

El Yunque National Park

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The El Yunque National Park is the only tropical rain forest under the protection of the US Forest Service, as well as the largest nature reserve in densely populated Puerto Rico. Situated in the mist-wreathed Luquillo Mountains—where year-round precipitation ensures lush, green landscapes and a healthy diversity of animal life—El Yunque is home to the rare Puerto Rican parrot and the Coqui frog, whose distinctive croak provides El Yunque's soundtrack.More
#5
San Juan Gate (Puerta de San Juan)

San Juan Gate (Puerta de San Juan)

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Named in honor of Saint John the Baptist, San Juan Gate (Puerta de San Juan) was originally one of five doorways to the city used to protect its streets from invaders and each gate has its own unique function. Today, this towering red and white entryway that’s tucked into the city’s surrounding stonewall offers a truly magical way to enter and explore Puerto Rico’s capital city.Travelers who pass through this historic entrance will find energetic vendors selling traditional snacks and ice-cold piragua along walkways heading towards the historic old town. Ancient trees stretch high into the sky and provide cool shade for lovers on romantic strolls. Narrow cobblestone streets lined with restored Spanish colonial homes and ornate balconies add to the charm of this favorite San Juan attraction.More
#6
Window Cave (Cueva Ventana)

Window Cave (Cueva Ventana)

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Most caves aren’t the types of places that also come with a view; by their very nature, caves are dark, musty holes full of rocks, stalactites and bats. But at Window Cave (Cueva Ventana), about an hour outside of San Juan, the dark cave opens to up to Puerto Rico’s best view.Ensconced in cliffs towering high above the Rio Grande Arecibo, Cueva Ventana is where subterranean suddenly meets surreal. Though there was once a time when it was free to visit, the area today is privately administered to protect against damage and decay. The downside, of course, is the added cost, but the upside is the fact that the ticket price now includes a local guide. Here you’ll hear history of native Taino who left their marks on the cave, and be presented with flashlights for navigating the depths of the dark, guano-filled room.Scrambling down rocks, tree roots and mud while weaving through dripping stalactites, the adventure is backed by a soundtrack of bats all squeaking in unison above. Thankfully the cave—since it’s open on both ends—doesn’t have much of a smell, and right when the enveloping darkness begins to feel a bit claustrophobic, light filters through the massive window to reveal a framed, panoramic view of the Arecibo Valley below.More
#7
Luquillo Beach

Luquillo Beach

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Puerto Rico’s Luquillo Beach (Playa Luquillo), also known as Balneario Monserrate, is a tranquil crescent famed for its coconut palm trees and long stretch of powdery white sand. Considered one of the island’s best public beaches, the calm waters here are perfect for swimming, wading, kayaking, and other water sports.More
#8
Cueva del Indio

Cueva del Indio

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Visitors to this popular natural wonder must scramble up rocky ledges, treacherous cliffs and ancient wooden staircases to access some of the region’s most impressive views. Stationed 700 feet above the Puerto Rican countryside, these beautiful caves are one of Arecibo’s most popular destinations and offer a unique taste of Taino cultural history, too.While the hike to the top is somewhat technical, amazing views and ancient rock paintings known as petroglyphs make it worth the challenge. Less-skilled travelers will still find plenty to do nearby since relaxing beaches, easier trails and off shore fishing are all possible ways to spend an afternoon here.More
#9
Pinones

Pinones

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A beautiful boardwalk, picturesque beaches and an impressive local food scene are just part of what makes a visit to Pinones the perfect escape for gringos in search of a truly Puerto Rican experience. Travelers can rent bikes and cruise along the scenic coast, or head off road on a ride through the diverse ecosystems that line paths leading to shallow shores. Whether it’s sky-high palm trees or low lying sea brush the range of accessible plant life is astounding.Travelers also love the wide variety of traditional island fare, like alcapuria, papa rellenas and pinchos, all served alongside strong, cold cocktails. A number of kiosks on the beach offer these local dishes, made fresh to order, making Pinones one of the best food destinations in Puerto Rico.More
#10
San Juan Cathedral (Catedral de San Juan Bautista)

San Juan Cathedral (Catedral de San Juan Bautista)

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Built in 1521, San Juan Cathedral(Catedral de San Juan Bautista) is one of the highlights of Old San Juan. The second-oldest cathedral in the Americas, this landmark in the heart of Old San Juan has an impressive array of religious and historical artifacts. The church is still operational, with services held throughout the week.More

Trip ideas

How to Tackle San Juan as a First Timer

How to Tackle San Juan as a First Timer

How to Spend 2 Days in San Juan

How to Spend 2 Days in San Juan

Top activities in Puerto Rico

San Juan Guided Snorkel Tour

San Juan Guided Snorkel Tour

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Culebra Day Trip by Catamaran from Fajardo
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Jet Ski Tour from Isla Verde

Jet Ski Tour from Isla Verde

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Puerto Rico Guided Adventure in El Yunque National Forest
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Rainforest Zipline in the El Yunque Foothills from San Juan
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Deserted Island Catamaran Day Sail from Fajardo
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El Yunque Natural Waterslide & Rainforest Hiking with Transportation
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El Yunque Rainforest Off the Beaten Path and Bio Bay Kayaking Combo Tour
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Flavors of Old San Juan Food Tour

Flavors of Old San Juan Food Tour

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US$125.00
San Juan ATV Adventure Tour
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San Juan ATV Adventure Tour

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Old San Juan Harbor Sailing Tour
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Old San Juan Harbor Sailing Tour

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US$79.00
Bio Bay Kayak Tour in Fajardo

Bio Bay Kayak Tour in Fajardo

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US$59.10
Old San Juan Walking Tour

Old San Juan Walking Tour

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Horseback Riding On Secluded Beaches, Tropical Forests, And More...
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Sunset Sail by San Juan Historical Bay
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All about Puerto Rico

When to visit

Sunny days and happy hours are seemingly endless in Spain’s Puerto Rico. December through March is heaven for winter sun-lovers, while the summer is popular with beach-seeking families and younger travelers. Meanwhile, the shoulder months of April and November see temperatures, crowds, and prices dwindle.

Frequently Asked Questions